Prohibits hiring discrimination by employers, employment agencies and licensing agencies based upon an individual's unemployment status.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful hiring discrimination by employers, employment agencies and licensing agencies based upon an individual's unemployment status
PURPOSE: To make it unlawful to refuse to hire someone based on their unemployment status.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the Executive Law is amended by adding a new section 296-c (1) (2) (3) to make it illegal for an employer or licensing agency, or an employment agency to refuse to hire or employ or to discriminate against an individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual's unemployment status.
Section 1 of the Executive Law is amended by adding a new section Section 296-c (4) of the Executive Law which makes it illegal for any employer or employment agency to print or circulate any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for employment or make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment which discriminates against an individual because of the individual's unemployment status.
The term "unemployment status" is defined as being unemployed having actively looked for employment during the most recent four week period, and currently being available for employment.
JUSTIFICATION: Current New York law allows employers, employment organizations or licensing agencies to refuse to hire an individual based on their unemployment status. In New York State as of March 2011, the U.S. Labor Department reports that the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent and the average length of time that an individual has been unemployed has become longer. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2011, the average length of unemployment rose to 39 weeks, the longest time on record.
Because the unemployment rate and the length of time to find a new job is at an all time high, the practice of excluding the unemployed has become a concern for job seekers who were not laid off due to poor performance and are actively seeking employment. This trend of excluding the jobless has become so common in New York State that a recent survey of the advertisements posted on Craigslist by New York employers reveals that a company looking for a Lead Cook/Sous Chef in Garrison, New York states that the applicant must be "currently employed in a similar position." Another advertisement for a full-time sales position in Plattsburgh, New York says they are looking for someone currently employed. There are many more examples. Recently, New Jersey has enacted a law that prohibits prospective employers from publishing advertisements for employment that exclude the unemployed.
This legislation will ensure that the growing number of unemployed workers, who are unemployed for longer durations, will have an equal opportunity to seek employment by leveling the playing field for all applicants.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill- 2011
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: No fiscal impact.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5316 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. STEWART-COUSINS, ADDABBO, AVELLA, BRESLIN, GIANARIS, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HUNTLEY, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY, RIVERA, SERRANO, STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to unlawful hiring discrimination by employers, employment agencies and licensing agen- cies based upon an individual's unemployment status THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 296-c to read as follows: S 296-C. UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES IN RELATION TO LICENSING OR EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES; UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS" SHALL MEAN BEING UNEMPLOYED, HAVING ACTIVELY LOOKED FOR EMPLOYMENT DURING THE THEN MOST RECENT FOUR WEEK PERIOD, AND CURRENTLY BEING AVAILABLE FOR EMPLOYMENT. 2. IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR AN EMPLOYER OR LICENSING AGENCY, BECAUSE OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS, TO REFUSE TO HIRE OR TO EMPLOY OR TO BAR SUCH INDIVIDUAL OR TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH INDIVIDUAL IN COMPENSATION OR IN TERMS, CONDITIONS OR PRIV- ILEGES OF EMPLOYMENT. 3. IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR AN EMPLOYER OR AN EMPLOYMENT AGENCY TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY INDIVIDUAL BECAUSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS IN RECEIVING, CLASSIFYING, DISPOSING OR OTHERWISE ACTING UPON APPLICATIONS FOR ITS SERVICES OR IN REFERRING AN APPLICANT OR APPLICANTS TO AN EMPLOYER OR EMPLOYERS. 4. IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR AN EMPLOYER OR AN EMPLOYMENT AGENCY TO PRINT OR CIRCULATE OR CAUSE TO BE PRINTED OR CIRCULATED ANY STATEMENT, ADVERTISEMENT OR PUBLICATION, OR TO USE ANY FORM OF APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT OR TO MAKE ANY INQUIRY IN CONNECTION WITH PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYMENT, WHICH EXPRESSES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ANYEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10544-03-1 S. 5316 2
LIMITATION, SPECIFICATION OR DISCRIMINATION AS TO UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS, OR ANY INTENT TO MAKE ANY SUCH LIMITATION, SPECIFICATION OR DISCRIMI- NATION, UNLESS BASED UPON A BONA FIDE OCCUPATIONAL QUALIFICATION; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT NEITHER THIS SECTION NOR ANY PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER OR OTHER LAW SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE OR THE DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL OF ANY CITY CONTAINING MORE THAN ONE COUNTY FROM REQUESTING INFORMATION FROM APPLICANTS FOR CIVIL SERVICE EXAMINATIONS CONCERNING THE AFOREMENTIONED CHARACTERISTIC, OTHER THAN SEXUAL ORIENTATION, FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING STUDIES TO IDEN- TIFY AND RESOLVE POSSIBLE PROBLEMS IN RECRUITMENT AND TESTING OF MEMBERS OF MINORITY GROUPS TO ENSURE THE FAIREST POSSIBLE AND EQUAL OPPORTU- NITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THE CIVIL SERVICE FOR ALL PERSONS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.